Student-made short film takes top prize in Veritas festival

An alumnus and three current Grove City College students recently won the short film category for the second annual Veritas Film Festival, hosted by and Veritas Arts and the College.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the festival planned for this month at the Guthrie Theater and on campus was called off. But Spencer Folmar ’10, organizer of the festival and owner of the Guthrie, and the festival’s seven judges, including Dr. Kimberly Miller, chair of the Department of Communication and Visual Arts, still diligently watched over 700 entries and chose winners from the 150 selections for each of the seven categories.

“The show must go on,” Folmar said. “We are hoping to showcase the award-winning movies at the Guthrie when it is safe to reopen.” On Thursday, Veritas released a highlight reel of all the category winners.

Robbie Weaver ’19 won the top prize in the short film category for his film “Treebeard Brown,” highlighting a local band that includes a few Grove City College alums.

“Treebeard Brown has a great story to tell and they continue to share some truly incredible music with the town of Grove City. I think this documentary really speaks for itself; all we had to do was turn the camera on and capture the magic Grove City residents had enjoyed for years,” Weaver said.

Current Grove City College students Addie Reynolds ‘22, Catie Fluharty ’21 and Adam Sweet ‘21 worked with Weaver on the seven-minute short film, which was originally released last year. The film came out of a semester-long assignment in Associate Professor of Communication and Visual Arts Greg Bandy’s documentary film class in the fall of 2018.

Reynolds grew up in Grove City. Several members of the band were her teachers in high school, so she knew their story and their quirky personalities well. “Making the film was an incredible experience that I feel blessed to have been a part of. I learned a lot both about videography and the community of Grove City,” Reynolds said. “I am also thankful for the resources Grove City College was able to supply us with in order to pursue this opportunity.”

The film highlights the Treebeard Brown’s story. Brian Brown is an English teacher at Grove City High School whose son, Jacob Treebeard (J.T.) was born with a rare immunodeficiency disorder and was the inspiration for the band. The high school decided to find ways to raise money for J.T.’s treatment. The “music thing,” as band member Vincent Anastasi ‘98 said, was one of those ideas. In 2005, the band was born. It consists of seven members, including Grove City College alums Anastasi and Pat McElroy ’08, who continue to bless the community with their music and spirit, even after helping the Brown family through their trying time.

“Making this project is one of the things I’m most proud of in my college career,” Fluharty said. The filmmakers put more than 400 hours into the job over the course of a semester, she said. “It was hard work, but winning this award makes all the exhausting days of editing worth it.”

“I want to thank the Veritas Film Festival for giving us a platform to share this documentary on a larger scale. I'm excited to see future Grove City College film teams in the festival going forward,” Weaver said.

Student-made short film takes top prize in Veritas festival

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